15 Aug 2011

Call for Samoa to plant nonu over taro

9:19 am on 15 August 2011

The leader of the opposition Tautua Samoa party is calling on locals to look at planting nonu trees instead of the traditional stable of taro.

A market has opened in China for nonu juice from Samoa and a shipment of 50,000 litres is to be exported in September, with 800,000 litres ordered for December.

Samoa, once the biggest exporter of taro in the Pacific, was hit by a taro blight in the 1990s which destroyed crops throughout the country.

Palusalue Fa'apo II told parliament the climate in Samoa makes it ideal for planting nonu trees, where as with taro cultivation large areas of land needs to be cleared.

He says providing taro for the local market is not the problem.

"'But it's not enough for exporting, unless we have to prepare acres and acres of land, what's I'm saying is that it won't be as successful because the quality of the taro here in Samoa can not compete with the quality of the taro in Fiji."

Palusalue Fa'apo II says the quality of taro in Samoa will never be as good as it was in the past.